Food & Gardens Group Meeting Notes from 1st August 2013

We met again at the Transition Loughborough Community Allotment site –on a lovely summer evening, the hottest day of the year so far.

Apologies: Jon Knight

Present: Cathy & John Sweet & guest, Rahul Mandal, Paul Goodman, Steve King, Martha Wörsching

With Cathy & John donating some garden chairs and Steve’s creation of a wooden bench, we have now furnished a nice communal seating area.

Transition Gardening Workshop at Shelthorpe Community Garden, 20th July 2013

The workshop was run again by Bobby Bartlett, focusing on seasonal work which meant mainly weeding and watering. There were not many members from the local community, possibly because the date fell in the school holidays; also, Ann Watkins, leading the development of the garden until recently as secretary of the Shelthorpe Community Association Garden, has left Loughborough, which may have caused transitional problems. Unfortunately, we did not get the feeling that there was genuine support from the local community for this garden. After some email exchanges with Bobby Bartlett and Cath Biddle (present coordinator of the SCAG) as well as a phone call with Cath after the workshop, the impression we have gained is that it may be best to cancel the Transition Gardening Workshop planned at Shelthorpe for 7th September, as we would want to wait until the local development is better established again. It was suggested that local people could be reached via the school links which the garden has already; Steve would like to find out whether there is an Eco teacher at the local primary school who could help reaching children and their families, so that the garden can develop again as a good thriving resource for the community. The student Action Group could then also be approached again to help, and another gardening workshop (perhaps on composting) run by Transition may then be appropriate to help develop more gardening skills. Paul would contact Cath to encourage more links with the school and find out more about other plans for the garden.

Further Transition Gardening Workshops

The next workshop at the Transition allotment on 3rd August should be advertised to residents in King George Road; Steve kindly offered to distribute leaflets.
Paul suggested that a bid could be prepared for more Loughborough-wide gardening workshops, targeting the whole Bloom community. A potato workshop in spring could be particularly attractive.

Report on Visit of the ‘It’s your Neighbourhood’ Assessor

Penny Brown visited on 24th July at 2pm, with Minara, Paul, Steve and Martha present. The weather was perfect and the plot looked thriving and attractive – we were all proud of what had been achieved since February this year! Steve showed some of the display boards with photos and statements summarising our aims; Penny was so impressed she wanted to take the boards with her. We underlined the different types of community links (Bangladeshi women, LAGS, Student Action Group) and the programme of workshops as a way to network with other local groups and develop gardening skills. We also mentioned the successful bid for raised beds and fruit cages accessible to people in wheelchairs. Penny asked whether we had planned a ‘wild life area’ – we pointed out the neighbouring Padgett Pastures and the stream as well as the badger set. We do hope that TLCA will score well as part of the Charnwood Bloom activities, particularly as Penny could see evidence of not only a very attractive but also productive plot.

Raised Beds & Fruit Cages

Cathy showed drawings of the planned cage and we discussed different types of raised beds and their location on the plot. The metal fruit cage would measure 4.5 x 4.5 metres and be covered in a thin mesh to keep aphids out, with double doors for wheelchair access. In Ken’s absence, the group felt that he would be the best person to draw up a plan with a shopping list for the raised beds. Work could start in September/ October. Cathy was thanked for all her hard work in planning the structural equipment so far. Access to the plot along the path would need to be improved so that wheelchairs could get in.

Transition Orchard

There was not much information about any developments on the Orchard near Gorse Covert.

Future Events

Apple Pressing at Warwick Way, 3rd August, 1-5pm. It was regretted that there was a clash with the Gardening Workshop at the TLCA (1-3pm). Steve suggested that the apple pressing was only part of a larger community event there, and he would first come to the gardening workshop and then go to Warwick Way to help.

Apple Pressing at Sutton Bonnington, 1st September.

A BBQ was planned for the end of September at TLCA, to celebrate harvesting and seed saving. An Indian festival, Nidian Navrati, could be celebrated at the same time, with Minara and her group.

A Harvest Celebration at LAGS (campus) is planned for 26th October, together with Fruit Route activities (Anne-Marie Culhane); it was hoped that we could do some Apple Pressing at this event as well (booking form will be sent in soon).

We ended the evening with picking beans and watering the newly planted crops.

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